When a waiter sent the check to the diner he served, he was dumbfounded to see the lady had already gone, without a single dollar left for a tip. He thought he had a dine and dash on the table, but then he found a note and a white envelope, and what was inside forced the waiter to run out of the restaurant to chase the woman down.
1. Testing His Dedication
The waiter is named Armando Markaj, and he works at the popular Patsy's Pizzeria in Harlem, New York. The 27-year-old was determined to become a doctor someday, and he worked hard as a waiter to put himself through medical school. Armando had always given the best service with a big smile, but an ill-tempered woman was really a test of his dedication to his work.
2. Packed To The Rafters
Patsy's Pizzeria is an iconic and popular restaurant in the neighborhood, and their busiest days are usually Saturdays. On a particularly busy day, Armando and his co-workers all had their hands full. He was assigned to cover a couple of tables at a time, and a rude woman and her daughter happened to be in his section. The duo were staring at the wall unpleasantly.
3. Unusual Behavior
On the walls are pictures of the restaurant's patrons since its opening in 1933. The two ladies examined the photos and then stared at one of them quite intensely as if they were going to critique a work in a gallery. Armando noticed their unusual behavior and assumed right away that they were going to be a problem.
4. Nothing Unpleasant At First
Despite their odd behavior, Armando walked over to the two ladies and greeted them with a warm smile. They ordered two slices of pizza just like any other customer, and nothing peculiar happened. But when Armando was about to walk away to get their orders, the older woman suddenly stopped him and asked a question that left him utterly speechless.
5. Cunning Question
"Why are there so few pictures of women on the wall?" the woman asked with obvious malice and an intent to trigger outrage and debate. Even if Armando was an experienced server, he couldn't think of a perfect answer at the time. He felt a bit awkward and tried to make a joke to ease the strained situation. But he would soon discover that his reply was completely in the wrong.
6. Unsatisfying Answer
"Maybe women don't eat a lot of pizza?" Armando nervously stammered and tried to laugh it off. But the woman obviously wasn't satisfied with his answer, and right on the spot, she seemed to decide that she would make the waiter pay for it. But Armando held nothing against her. He just walked away flustered and continued to serve other customers.
7. Remained Professional
A long-time server, Armando wasn't a stranger to diners with bad attitudes. But he remained a professional and gave his best service to all his customers, including the rude ones. So even if the lady wasn't that friendly, he served her the best way he could, taking her order promptly and getting her check instantly when she asked for it. Still, his good service fell on deaf ears.
8. Left Without A Word
It was such a busy day that Armando had to move really fast to serve several tables concurrently. So after he had handed the woman her check, he moved promptly on to serve other tables. Unexpectedly, when he returned a few minutes later, Armando found that the mother and daughter had already left. A lousy thought immediately came to mind.
9. Felt Hurt
Armando thought the two women hadn't paid their bill. But when he opened the leather bill folder, he found the bill had been paid in its entirety. But in no time, Armando realized that the two women hadn't left him any tip at all. He felt pretty hurt as his livelihood lay largely on tips. But the next second, he found something even more hurtful inside the folder.
10. Mysterious Envelope
There was a scribbled note, reading, "Maybe women don't tip either." The words left Armando totally speechless, but he managed to keep his composure. He then began clearing the table with a heavy heart when he noticed a white envelope under one of the napkins. Out of curiosity, Armando picked it up and opened it. What was inside made him run out of the door immediately.
11. Not An Average Check
Inside the envelope was a check from Citibank with a jaw-dropping value of $424,000. It was the largest amount of money the waiter had ever seen. Without a second thought, Armando "ran out to the street to look for her, but she was gone." He now had to decide whether to cash it himself to solve his financial problems or track the woman down to give her the check back.
12. Made His Choice
After weighing his thoughts, Armando pulled out his phone and called the restaurant's owner Frank Brinja. Usually, items lost in Patsy's would be put in a lost and found box, but he couldn't treat such a staggering check as if it were something ordinary. He also knew that keeping the check to himself would be as bad as the woman's behavior. So he decided to turn to Frank for a suggestion.
13. Looking For The Woman
"He hands me this check, and I was like, 'Oh my...' I didn't want to put it in my pocket; it was so much money," Frank said. With little discussion, they decided to track the woman down. The two tried to connect Karen Vincour, the name the lady had left on the check, but all leads ended up in dead ends. At last, they realized that they would have to keep the check, for the time being, hoping its owner might return to look for it.
14. Searching For The Check
While Armando and Frank were looking for the woman, Karen was frantically searching for the check. She and her daughter searched every corner of their house and even turned out the trash, but nothing was found. They then retraced their steps and called the cafe they had dropped by that morning. Yet still, no one had seen the check. Karen went on to call Patsy's but was disappointed once again.
15. Karen's Life Savings
The worker who answered the call in the restaurant knew nothing about the check, and the other staff were too busy to care about such a trivial call. Unable to find her lost check, Karen was absolutely frantic, as the $424,000 was her entire life savings. She'd got the money by selling her apartment and had intended to buy a new house with it. Now it had all gone, but further misery was around the corner.
16. Another Heavy Punch
In despair, Karen called the bank to cancel the check, but their reply was nothing other than a punch to the gut. They said they couldn't cancel the check until three months later, and during this period, anyone who had it could easily cash it in. She was then technically homeless and had already been couch surfing with friends. Without the check, the woman didn't know how to make it through the days ahead.
17. Got Professional Help
As Armando and Frank hadn't seen Karen return to ask them for the check, they decided to get professional help. They called the local newspaper, and within a few minutes, they found the check's owner. A mere 30 minutes later, Karen showed up at the restaurant, and Armando was the first to greet her at the door. But would she be apologetic for her previous rude behavior?
18. Shame And Gratitude
When Frank gave the check back to her, Karen was beyond relieved. Meanwhile, she obviously felt sorry and ashamed for her prior manners towards the hardworking Armando. "The second she saw Armando, you could see she got a little shy," Frank said. In shame and gratitude, Karen intended to offer Armando a heartfelt apology and a finder's fee. Armando unsurprisingly did what any honorable person would have done.
19. Differences Settled
Armando accepted Karen's apology heartfeltly but refused the money she offered. Karen was so grateful that she finally settled their differences by treating him to a freshly made pizza. Frank also showed her the photos of women she might have missed out on the wall last time. There were actually a lot of women there, including TV host Barbara Walters and several First Ladies. In the end, everything worked out thanks to Armando's kindness.